I figured if I wrote the title in French, it would sound a bit more romantique.

I was intending to talk about our research on paranormal beliefs, but I realized it wouldn’t be very apropos this week – unless we talk about tragic romances. Quick romantic history facts: Antony died in Cleopatra’s arms, after stabbing himself with his sword (in the belief that she had already committed suicide as well). After losing his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, in childbirth, Shah Jahan built a monument to honor her. Yes, you guessed it – the Taj Mahal.

Speaking of dramatic views of romance, I’ve always said that if I could live in any era, it would have to be during the medieval times – the knights, the castles, the courting. Although let’s face it – my view has been colored by movies like Robin Hood and A Knight’s Tale. I think the underlying theme that ultimately draws me is the chivalry. Honestly, it makes my heart melt. Letting me get on the elevator first? Opening the door for me? These are simple gestures that make me, and a lot of other women, smile.

So the days of hurtling on horseback, dressed in armor, with a giant stick in your hands in order to impress a woman are gone.  (“It’s called a lance. Hellooo.”) And ladies, dropping your handkerchief to get a man’s attention is just going to get you a littering ticket. Does that mean chivalry is dead? Not so, according to our statistics. According to data we collected for our Gender Roles test, while most men and women take a modern approach to dating, a little chivalry can still go a long way.

We collected data from 950 men and 1621 women. Here’s what our research on gender roles and courtship reveals:

  • On the modern side: 77% of men and 70% of women feel that a date can be initiated by either gender. In fact, 65% of the women in our sample either asked a man out on a date or would be willing to do so.
  • On the traditional side: 67% of men and 60% of women believe that chivalry is important (e.g. opening doors, pulling out chairs, etc.). My personal favorite? That social convention where men stand up when a woman walks in or leaves a room. (Thank you Downton Abbey).
  • On the modern side: When it comes to popping the question, 66% of men and 65% of women think it’s fine for the woman to do the asking.
  • On the traditional side: 60% of women still like to be wined and dined, at least in the initial stages of dating.

In terms of who pays for the first date (oh yes…that debate), 47% of men feel that the man should pay; 24% feel that the bill should be split; 29% stated that whoever initiated the date should pay. On the women’s side, 31% feel the man should pay, another 31% feel that the bill should be split, and 38% indicated that whoever initiated the date should pay. And that old “play-hard-to-get” theory? Still just a theory it seems, at least for our sample of people. Only 19% of men and 28% of women believe that a woman should be mysterious and play hard-to-get for the first few dates.

It’s nice to see women taking more initiative when it comes to dating and romance. Does this mean men are off the hook when it comes to the romantic stuff? Nope, sorry. It does mean, however, that both genders need to put an effort into bringing the romance into a relationship. Sorry ladies, but it’s not solely up to the guy to make Valentine’s, or any other day, special.

So just for the fun of it, here are some romance tips with a twist:

  • Forget the dozen roses. Buy one, tied with a ribbon.
  • Show up at your partner’s workplace and whisk him or her away for lunch.
  • Place a love note in your partner’s lunch bag, on the bathroom mirror.
  • Grab a blanket, a bottle of wine, and drive out to a place where you can see the stars.
  • Slow dance in your living room.
  • Avoid embarrassing lingerie no-nos. Take himto a lingerie store and show him all the naughty things you like.
  • Meet at a local hang-out and pretend you’re two strangers flirting with each other.
  • Build a little bonfire in your backyard and make chocolate Smores.
  • Get tango or salsa lessons together.

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day! And even if you’re not with someone, that doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself with love.

Insightfully yours,

Queen D